The host of human trafficking and forced labor colloquially called “slavery” in the modern usage could be said to have lasted approximately 373 years. That number varies according to different usages of the word.
Slavery, referring only to the transatlantic slave trade and its primary effects, began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492 and ended with the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865. Upon his arrival in what he believed to be the East Indies, Columbus noted that the indigenous population would make fine slaves and began to ship them to Spain. The shipment of African slaves to the Americas began in the early 1500s. The first African slaves arrived in what would later become the United States in 1619.